You may recall that all the way back in July, Words in Place invited submissions for a prize, named OneSEC, for the best single sentence in an academic essay published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2014 by a scholar trained or nested in English. Reading submissions reminded me: we are a brilliant, witty, inventive discipline. Also, we should celebrate our writing more, read our colleagues more, and at least once or twice a year, deliberately read material that has nothing to do with our research. Here’s where reading submissions confounded me: when deciding what to submit, why did so many academics select sentences with gratuitous mentions of meat? All kinds of meat. Do we find meat inherently funny? Read the winning sentence and our honorable mention, and judge for yourself.
Dr. Peter Schwenger
“The scream is itself the horror, when read as Deleuze reads it: as a gaping hole through which the body tries to escape itself, but from which the flesh descends in all the materiality of meat.”
From “Phenomenology of the Scream,” Critical Inquiry 40 (Winter 2014), 382-395.
Dr. Schwenger is Professor Emeritus, Mount St. Vincent University, now affiliated with the English department at the University of Western Ontario and Resident Fellow at that university’s Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism.
Dr. Brian Macaskill
“The reading affects simul-prompted here are as much musico-mental as they are visuo-visceral: bodily-complex orthographic prompts shaping our response to characters constructed “only” from letters of the alphabet, like that Leopold Bloom whom by now we know well and whom we soon come to know is now walking along the Liffey quayside, approaching the Ormond where he will eat “with relish the inner organs” again at a supper of sliced liver with bacon and a bottle of cider (11.520), approaching at this or some contiguous point in time the Essex bridge (“Yes, Mr Bloom crossed bridge of Yessex” [11.229]) about to be cuckolded (again), and shaping our response also to the cuckolding agent himself, Blazes Boylan, who by chance stops by at the Ormond about now to drink a sloe gin “thick syrupy liquor for his lips” (11.365), lips on the way to an assignation with Molly Bloom at the Bloom residence on Eccles Street, lips which stop at the Ormond on the way despite being a little late for their date, “slowsyrupy sloe” (11.369). ”
From “Fugal Musemathematics Track One, Point Two: J.M. Coetzee, Ethics, and Joycean Counterpoint.” Word and Text: A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics 4.2 (2014): 115-129.
Dr. Brian Macaskill is Graduate Program Director, Department of English, John Carroll University.
Thank you to all who participated. For those who wish to submit a sentence for consideration in next year’s round, the same rules will apply, and the same email will be used.
Source of balloon and image: Etsy